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Election 2024: Bigger tax breaks for veterans’ bosses, in Tory D-Day offer

Extended tax breaks for former armed services personnel’s employers will be on offer in a new Veterans Bill, the Tories have announced in an election pledge to mark D-Day. Photo: PA
Extended tax breaks for former armed services personnel’s employers will be on offer in a new Veterans Bill, the Tories have announced in an election pledge to mark D-Day. Photo: PA

Extended tax breaks for former armed services personnel’s employers will be on offer in a new Veterans Bill, the Tories have announced in an election pledge to mark D-Day.

Proposals also include delivering cheaper railcards for veterans, as part of the party’s plans – if elected – to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran.

The Bill, the Conservatives said, would extend the National Insurance holiday for veterans’ employers, expanding a tax break which they said would incentivise firms to boost hiring.

Employment among veterans has risen from 80 per cent to 89 per cent since 2015, higher than the UK average, the party said.

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Ahead of marking the event at a ceremony at the British Normandy memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, France, Rishi Sunak said: “The heroes who have put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms represent the very best of our country.

“That’s why we have prioritised making the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran with our clear plan to give them the opportunities, aftercare and support they deserve to live prosperous, fulfilled lives.”

And veterans minister Johnny Mercer said: “D-Day is a moment for us to reflect on the historic bravery of those men who fought for us 80 years ago. Their spirit lives on in the millions of veterans who continue their legacy today.”

But Labour hit back, claiming the Tories had failed to pass a veterans bill, limited the roll-out of veteran ID cards, and overseen a rise in veteran homelessness.

It comes after the party earlier this week pledged to establish a new armed forces commission, in their first King’s Speech in power, if elected, as well as putting the armed forces covenant into law.

Speaking ahead of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, leader Sir Keir Starmer paid tribute to the “individual courage and collective strength” of the Second World War generation.

“Eighty years ago today, the sun rose on a new day of hope for a world in the dark storm of the Second World War,” he said.

“This goes beyond party politics. This is about who we are as a nation. This is our story, our history, our identity – and our future together.”

While Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey outlined his party’s plans to improve military housing, and ensure compensation does not count towards benefits means testing.

Davey said: “Today millions of people across the country will be reflecting on the sacrifices made to free Europe from tyranny 80 years ago.

“We must ensure everyone who has stood in defence of our nation is rewarded and properly supported.”